What are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, or vape pens, are all different names for the same battery-operated device that people use to inhale nicotine, flavoring, or other chemicals. They often look like cigarettes, pipes, pens, or USB memory sticks, as can be seen below.
Can they help you stop smoking?
Some people think that e-cigarettes can help you stop smoking, but actually, there is not enough science to prove this.1 A study showed that students who have used e-cigarettes by the time they start 9th grade are more likely than others to start smoking traditional cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products within the next year, suggesting that e-cigarettes may actually encourage cigarette smoking in adolescents.2
What are the health effects?
The nicotine that can be found in e-cigarettes is absorbed into your bloodstream when inhaled, which then goes to your adrenal glands, located above your kidneys.1 These glands release adrenaline which increases your blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate.1 Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain. Addiction occurs because over time, the nicotine can change the way your brain works. If you stop using it, your body can get confused and you can start to feel really sick. This makes it hard to stop using these products even when you know it's bad for you.1
Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:
- ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs3
- flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease3
- volatile organic compounds3
- heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead3
Looking for resources to quit Juul? You aren't alone. With e-cigarette use climbing exponentially among students this past year alone, Juul seems to be everywhere, while it may feel like resources to quit are nowhere to be found. Material has been made available by the Truth Initiative to help teens during this epidemic.
1. National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
2. National Institutes on Health: national Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. Tobacco, Niccotine, & E-Cigarettes.
3. U.S. Surgeon General. Know the Risks. E-Cigarettes and Young People.
4. Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Vapes and Cigarettes. Different products. Same dangers.